Wednesday, November 19, 2014


It's how you play the game
People are fascinated by our home and
it's transformation. If nothing else the
process of renovating the Passion Pit
has been an education. I often say it's
either an act of love or insanity. Let
me first reinforce that any renovation
is not for the faint of heart. Nor very
feasible for those on a tight budget.
The fact is it costs a lot of money and
takes a lot of time. That said, people
often ask what we've learned. And so
I thought I'd share a few insights for
all foolhardy enough to be intrigued.
WIN: Daily Dosage
Early on we figured out that Mike, leader
of our Heartland Construction team, was
a treasure. First of all he's an artist. His
craftsman's eye and passion for perfection
is beyond a gift. Second, he's been here in
our house almost everyday for two years.
Nobody does anything without his input
as he guards this place like a hawk. Given
most of the work happened while we were
not here - we could NOT have done this
renovation without Mike. So, whatever you
do, don't do it without a partner who cares
as much (or more) as you do - every day!
WIN: Positive Outlook
I can't tell you how grateful we are to
Bill, our contractor who at the start
convinced us to install new windows.
While they cost almost as much as a
house, they were worth every penny!
During the recent arctic blast, I could
stand next to any window and never
feel the chill. They not only keep the
cold out - they sound proof our home
which is something we never thought
about. So, if you ever purchase an old
house - immediately replace all of the
drafty energy deficient windows!
WIN: Middle Management
One of the reasons we moved into our
Dallas apartment were it's dark, ebony
stained wood floors. Mysteriously they
lay there waiting. So elegant, and even
more sophisticated. Then we moved in.
Once we had to care of them, reality
showed us every piece of dirt, lint, and
debris. Hence I swiffered my guts out
on a daily basis. The fact is they drove
me completely nuts. So this time we
went with a medium walnut stain for
our floors. Not too light. Not too dark.
And... they truly do NOT show the dirt!
WIN: Off Color
After living in a monochromatic
blur, I selected a bold turquoise
for our front hall. At first most
everyone was skeptical. As they
passed by the sample swatch on
the wall some tried to be kind.
Others loudly protested. As the
paint started to go on, even I was
worried. But after it was all done,
suddenly it was the smartest thing
we ever did. Day or night it wows,
charms, and engages all who see it
Go ahead and color YOUR world!
WIN: Know Nothing
One of the most amazing aspects of
our transformation has been the level
of local expertise. There are a lot of
very talented craftspeople working
in this community. All knowledgable
and ready to help one make the best
decisions. Hence I've learned a lot
from the "pros." Most important,
I learned to let them do their jobs.
After we handed Jeana Noel our pile
of inspiration, Bella Cucina created
our dream kitchen. While she did it
our way, we gladly did it her way!
WIN: Faux but close enough
Thank God for the internet. Before
we did anything - I researched my
guts out. Fortunately I discovered
the best polymer columns I've ever
seen. Every time I pass them, I have
to touch. That's how real they look.
Not only are they gorgeous, they'll
never rot, crumble, or decay. What
I learned was that sometimes you
can use modern materials and they
are better than the real stuff.. So all
of you "real" snobs - listen, look,
touch, and feel before you buy!
WIN: Who you gonna call?
Sometimes you get more than you
bargained for. Pre and post signing
I felt creepy in the back basement
bedroom. After we purchased the
house, my bestie "T" asked about
our ghost. Without knowing nada,
she knew that a spook was hiding
in that exact room. Soon she came,
found, and escorted our wayward
spirit out of the house. And since
then, that creepy feeling is gone.
Even if you think I'm crazy, hire
an expert to clear out your house!
WIN: Go ahead, DREAM
The first time I saw this house I said
"never in a million years." Even today
I can't believe the transformation. As
creative types - Frank and I could see
behind the mess. Underneath all of it
was a jewel just waiting to be polished.
Our historical home is beyond unique.
Everything we love about it couldn't
be easily replicated within modern
construction modes. So if you love it,
go ahead, dream. Take a calculated risk.
But only after your building inspector
says it won't fall down. BUY IT!